Ultrastructural Localization of a Protective 68,000 Molecular Weight Antigen in Schistosoma Mansoni

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  • Division of Geographic Medicine, Department of Medicine and Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio

Vaccination with SMW 68, an M, 68,000 glycoprotein of Schistosoma mansoni, induces significant protection in mice against challenge schistosome infection. This resistance occurs without the use of adjuvants and without sensitizing animals to granuloma formation. Likewise, passive transfer of monoclonal antibody (MAb) 31-3B6 against SMW 68 confers partial protection against challenge infection. As a first step in understanding how the immune response to this molecule leads to resistance, SMW 68 was localized in three developmental stages of the parasite by immunoelectron microscopy using MAb 31-3B6 and polyclonal antisera raised against purified SMW 68. In cercariae and schistosomula, MAb 31-3B6 bound electron-dense granules within the head gland and similar granules in the preacetabular glands. In adult worms, SMW 68 or related antigens were found to be widely distributed in tissues. Binding of specific antisera was most pronounced in the gut and tegument of male worms, but less so in subtegumental muscles. We conclude that SMW 68 is presented to the immune system in various ways during parasite development. The protective protein or epitope is excreted, and presented on the surface and in the cytoplasm at various stages of the life cycle. The relationship of the location of this protein to its role in protective immunity is discussed.